The Prog Report: USA

While Prog festivals are fairly common in Europe, there have not been that many successful attempts in the US.; but a new two-day festival called Progtoberfest is coming up this October 25th-26th in Chicago. The festival will feature some of prog music’s most heralded groups as well as some startup outfits.

Saturday’s line-up includes newer bands Dream The Electric Sleep, Thank You Scientist and Jolly, as well as prog heavy hitters Bigelf, Richard Sinclair and Spock’s Beard. Sundays’ line-up features Stick Men, TU (w/Trey Gunn), Scale The Summit, Adam Holzman and Burnt Belief. Overall, there are a number of incredible bands that round out the two days.

Founder Kevin Pollack says he decided to put on the festival because of his love for the prog genre and the need for a prog festival in his area of Chicago. “I was raised on prog; the old stuff and the new stuff. I listened to it religiously growing up, especially Genesis and Porcupine Tree. So I think it’s really cool to be a part of that genre. I’ve always heard about the other prog festivals people put on like Nearfest and RoSfest, so I said to myself, ‘There should be a prog festival in Chicago that should be yearly.’ So this happened. I actually put on ‘Prog Night’ at the Arcada last year with District 97, Three Friends and the Neal Morse Band and it was such a success I thought putting on a festival would be cool.”

Pollack had had some experience, being a booking agent and talent buyer for a local venue known as Reggies, where the festival will take place. He more recently made the jump into promotion. The bands for the festival were chosen “based on good recommendations through word of mouth, some bands that I really like and some bands Robby Glick, the owner of Reggies, liked. If it weren’t for Reggies and Robby Glick, this festival wouldn’t be happening so I have him to thank.”

He says the excitement for the festival has been great and hopes that it will only continue to grow. “So far the response has been going well but we’re still pushing hard. This is the first of its kind and we want it to be a success so we can do it again next year!”

The good news is there are already plans to continue the festival. “I plan to put this festival on year round. We might have another location next year. We might handle things differently next year. We’re just gonna wait to see how this year pans out first!”

More more information on Progtoberfest, see here.